UK Apple Pay transactions won’t be limited forever

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When Apple finally confirmed it was launching Apple Pay in the UK, questions over how it would operate immediately surfaced. Between supporting banks and retailers, it became clear that transactions will be capped at £20, the same limit that contactless bank cards enjoy, putting a downer on people’s plans to use Apple’s NFC payment service for a weekly shop. After staying relatively quiet since the launch, Apple has finally spoken about the matter, launching a new FAQ to clear up what exactly will happen when the July launch rolls around.

As we know, Apple Pay will work with the contactless terminals used by thousands of retailers all over the UK. That means the large majority customers will be forced to stay under the £20 limit, which rises to £30 in September, if their iPhone or Apple Watch comes into contact with an older machine. Apple Pay is built to work beyond those limits, it’s just that not all retailers will have upgraded their hardware to support a technology known as “Consumer Device Cardholder Verification Method”.

If a shop has this payment processor in place, it’s as simple as holding your iPhone or smartwatch to a contactless terminal and using Touch ID to authenticate the transaction. Despite being ahead of the US for so long in terms of contactless payments, it’s going to take a while for UK retailers reach parity with their American counterparts. However, it’s very likely that some of Apple’s launch partners will have already taken those steps, ensuring you can buy a coffee, send some letters or grab a cheeky Nando’s without worrying about whether it comes in under the limit.